Monday, October 25, 2010

Adventure Comics #517, 518 and #519 - DC

I think Paul Levitz is trying to reintroduce a new generation, and perhaps some of the old, to the Legion again. Obviously, in order to tell current stories of the Legion, he's going to have to show things from the past as a sort of prologue. And I assume, since the Legion of 3 Worlds combined a lot of the most recent story-lines, and teams, that Paul has a bit of artistic license when it comes to showing us the past. The Legion's past. Our future. You know what I mean. Anyways, my point is, in issue #517 we're shown a story from the very early days of the Legion. Irma, Garth and Rokk have just barely gotten together, and they're still trying to figure out not only their own relationships, but the Legion's with other entities, such as the Science Police. Irma is still at the point where she feels like she has to prove herself . . constantly. We're also introduced to a new threat . . a techno-pirate named Zaryan, who's going around and stealing robot parts from many different manufacturing plants, and various planets. Although, after looking it up, Zaryan's first appearance was back in Jan. of 1963. In a battle with the Legion . . he was then called Zaryan the Conqueror . . he ended up killing Lightning Lad. Which kind of shows how Paul is tweaking things, just a bit. Anyways, this is one of their very first missions, and they're doing it in tandem with the Science Police. Specifically a Sgt. Esquivel. Whom, although she doesn't like the access that's been given to Brande, simply because of his money, is still a believer in the Legion and what it hopes to stand for. Through the course of the mission, and Irma's training, she and the Sgt becomes friends. So on one of the raids when one of Zaryan's men take out the Sgt, Irma is especially vulnerable. Which leads her to sleeping with Rokk. Luckily, for her, it follows a night of drinking, so she can make him forget and blame it on the booze. We also see in this part of the story how these first 3 Legionnaires come to the conclusion that they need to expand their ranks. The issue ends with their new friend Brainy planning a trip back to the past so that they can meet their idol . . Superboy. RJ Brands actually wants them to meet Superman, but . . Brainy has other plans. The next issue goes into the present of the Legion and we see Superboy in the future visiting his friends. This issue is kind of told from Clark's perspective, in that he doesn't always like what he finds in the future, especially when he starts to see glimpses of his own. There's lots of things that happen to him, as Superman, that he's in no way prepared to face yet. Which is part of the reason why Irma insists on mind-sweeping him before he returns to his own time. The information, and feelings, that he experiences while in the future can't be carried back into the past with him. He can't face the threats he destined to face with any prior knowledge. In order to now affect the future, he has to handle them in the way that he originally did . . good or bad. But while in the future . . it's a heavy burden for him to bear. There's also a mystery going on, in that the Legion Headquarters seems to be haunted. Phantom girl tries to give Superboy the tour, but she's kind of distracted by the other things going on. And Clark actually hears the supposed phantom's voice while in the Superman museum. The next issue takes place about a year after the Legion's formation, and . . the Legion has grown tremendously. But something that is constant is that they're still chasing after this Zaryan guy. Irma is especially hell-bent on capturing him because of what happened to her friend. But she's temporarily pulled off the mission so that she, Rokk and Garth can go back to meet Superboy. Brainy supposedly has a list of the things he wants the team to do with the young Clark Kent, but the real point of their mission is to intercept a Brainiac droid that is sent to Earth to scout out their technology. We also see the first glimpse of the Legion Espionage Squad this issue . . Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet and Invisible Kid. Anyways, the Legionnaires have fun in the past up until they realize why they're really there. And why Brainy brought them to Smallville in the first place, instead of Metropolis to meet Superman like RJ wanted. He knows that Superboy isn't prepared to face Brainiac, and if they could defeat the droid and make it disappear . . it would be consistent with what the future records show. Of the three, I especially liked this issue because it came the closest to giving me the feeling that I used to get when I read those old Legion stories . . the ones from Superboy and Adventure, back in the 60's and 70's. Overall, I think Paul is doing a great job and, I think, is trying to bring the Legion into the future, without rewriting to much of the past. But like I said, there are some subtle tweaks here and there. Kevin Sharpe and Marlo Alquiza provide the art for the first 2 issues, with Eduardo Pansica filling in on #519. I thought they all did a good job, and gave their books a really good feel. I'm also enjoying the Atom back-up story by Jeff Lemire and Mahmud Asrar. Someone is after Ray's technology. And it appears to be the Colony. We find out later, from Ray's uncle, that the Colony started out as a government think tank . . Project Colony. But when their governmental funding was pulled, they decided to carry on under their own direction. They felt that the work they were doing was to important to the future of the nation and the world. Anyways, for some reason they're after Ray's White Dwarf Star. They've been able to copy his technology, but . . without the star, it's unstable . . at best. And somehow Ray's uncle Dave is involved in all of this. Dave shows Ray his life's work . . the Ant-Farm. It's a microscopic world that he's created should the need arise for humankind to vacate the planet . . 'pandemics, nuclear or biological war, natural disasters, overpopulation, famine, even meteorites that may collide with Earth one day. We need a backup plan . . this . . this is a microscopic panic room for humankind.' But even though Dave created it, he's never been inside of it, because . . he doesn't have the technology. Only Ray does. So I think, for some reason, Dave's tricked him into coming here. Anyways, through the course of these stories, I thought Jeff Lemire did a fantastic job of reintroducing us to Ray's character, and that of the Atom's. He does a little bit to update him . . without changing him, and does a good job of explaining why he's always had such a hard time of fitting in with the Justice League. He's always wanted to help, but . . he approaches things . . problems, a different way than is usually their method. I thought it was good insight into the character and made us really think about who he is. This is another book that I'm glad is back on the shelf. I'm thrilled to read every issue of it.

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